You wait 16 months for a Race and 2 come along together!
My last race was the Thirsk 10 mile, it seems like a lifetime ago. Many of you may have already had your first race of the year in club colours, this was to be mine. Once it was confirmed the Durham City Run Festival was going to be going ahead, emails pinged and race numbers dropped on the doormat soon after. This was a race deferred from last year and one I have raced every year since its inception. Was I excited? Hmmm…. Yes and No in equal measures.
The Yes bit is obvious, I absolutely love race day! Getting stuff together, planning travel, etc etc
The No …. A little un-fitter, injury niggle for past year or so, will my race vest fit (this was a very real concern, lol), how will it work with new course and covid restrictions.
Race Day was here, I pinned my number to my vest, packed my bag and off I went.
My vest was a little snug, but still so happy to be wearing Harriers colours again. But not sure what to expect in Durham. The race start was moved to the Racecourse, as I walked there, I was joined by a few familiar faces, and even more Harriers were at the venue. Everything seemed like normal, lots of people, different clubs represented. And it was a fantastic evening weather wise.
The organisation was absolutely superb. Everyone had a colour coded number, I was in the first wave, we were corralled and led to the start line, the next wave formed behind and so on. The walk to the start was a good couple of hundred yards away, all the waves in place moving very slowly to be released in a rolling start every few minutes.
As I approached the start line, I glanced across the field and saw Pete King, he was going to be the last man to cross the start line. The Americans call it playing the dead man running game, whether intentional or not, the aim is to overtake as many as possible before you cross the finish line. I on the other hand was doing the exact opposite, start first and see how many runners can pass me.
The race was off, new course and full of hope. We did a loop of the Racecourse and then headed through Old Elvet and down by the river, crossed the foot bridge and were doing the Parkrun in reverse on the undulating path next to the river. Crossed the very narrow wood bridge at about 3k (apologies for being slow and causing a bottle neck behind me) and on towards the very loud, shaky bridge at the Sports Complex. The surprise next was a left hander and onto the running track for about 300m then off and in between the various sports pitches for a lap of the complex on the grass, which turned into another field and a lap before heading back along the river path back towards Durham.
This was the 5k point, and when the wheels started to fall off, my calf injury started hurting and gradually was to get worse. Slowing down even slower if that was possible, I heard Pete behind me and asked if I would do a race rundown. In a moment of weakness I said yes, no problem, he then ran off before I could change my mind!
The pace was getting slower and pain was starting to hurt, but I was determined to finish. The route was not as hilly as previous years, a good course I thought. So we crossed the Old Elvet Bridge and ran towards the market place, through the shops and up Claypath, to turn down the steep hill towards the old ice rink site. And over the river again we go, the last painful kilometre towards the city centre. We ended up crossing the Framwellgate Bridge and running up the steep hill towards the market place and onto a finish at The Gate, Claypath.
The support from fellow Harriers was as it always was, and always will be, genuine, warm and encouraging. My race was not the greatest at 1 hr 20 mins. But on reflection I still enjoyed my race day. And another race the following day!
OH NO!!! ANOTHER RACE RUNDOWN!!!
After limping the last 2 miles the previous night, I did not know what to expect from my Run Like A Legend mile race. My preparation was lots of warm up drills, stretching on the morning and becoming best friends with my foam roller.
I was racing with 5 other people on the riverside path at 2.00pm. The course was an out and back on flat terrain, a lot easier than last time’s course.
I ran like the wind, it seemed like I did anyway, was very hot and sticky but it’s only a mile isn’t it? I gained confidence from the fact I was not hurting and ran as fast as I could, my target was under 10 minutes, a good benchmark for the rest of the year.
A very good 9.43 which I was pleased with, all is restored in Andy World.
As a footnote these two races being part of the Durham City Running Festival are excellent local events in a fantastic setting, well organised and laid out, medals and T-shirts are of good quality. All in all a great experience I will continue to support.